DDCA stands with egg on its face after fiasco

It wasn’t long ago that Virender Sehwag had revolted against the association’s nepotism while selecting the State team.

Backed by his other Delhi internationals, the star batsman had even threatened to shift allegiance to neighbouring Haryana if the problem wasn’t fixed. 

DDCA’s image got tarnished even more on Sunday when the pitch here for the India-Sri Lanka match was termed ‘dangerous’ leading to the match’s cancellation. This is only the second instance that a match in India has been called off due to poor playing conditions. Indore’s Nehru Stadium was the first venue to face such embarrassment on Dec 25, 1997 when the match, also between India and Lanka, was called off after just three overs.

It’s hard to believe that the authorities didn’t foresee the possibility of such an occurrence looking at the notorious recent history of the Kotla wicket. Its lack of bounce during the inaugural Champions League T20 tournament and during the subsequent India-Australia match had come in for sharp criticism. Considering this, it hardly called for another match here so soon. As a result both the BCCI and the DDCA are now left with egg all over their faces.

DDCA did offer an apology and regretted the inconvenience caused to spectators and announced the refunding of gate tickets, but that helped little in salvaging the situation. Association president Arun Jaitely, addressing the media, assured: “The DDCA takes this matter very seriously. We will look into this matter and do all that is required to ensure that such a situation does not re-occur.”

Jaitely, however, avoided questions on the possible ICC ban on Kotla as an international venue. “We don’t want to get into speculative things. We are in consultation with the BCCI and we have taken all the decisions in consultation with them,” he said, trying to place the onus on the Indian board.

DDCA in an effort to enhance the bounce in the pitch had re-worked on the square and had planted fresh grass to help the pitch hold firm. But their plan seems to have gone awry. “We put some grass there and may be something went wrong with that. The fear was that against Australia the ball was keeping low and the wicket was breaking up. We thought that will not happen in this match, unfortunately there was more bounce,” DDCA ground and pitches head Chetan Chauhan offered.

Chauhan then conveniently blamed BCCI for the mess. “I do supervise the pitch preparation here, but it’s done under the greater supervision of the BCCI’s pitch committee. We have done everything according to their advice. Whatever technical advice we have received is from the BCCI and there was no role for us as far as our inputs were concerned,” he remarked.

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